October 17, 2016 9:17 pm

Summerland family earns narcotic exemption


SUMMERLAND – Four-year-old Kyla Williams of Summerland is a special needs child who suffers from seizures.

Her grandparents have done something very few Canadians have managed to do before. They got an exemption from Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

They, along with a handful of other parents across the country, are now allowed to receive a cannabis-based product from the United States.

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It’s hemp oil that contains a special ingredient called CBD that has helped reduce Kyla’s seizures from hundreds a day to about one every few weeks.

It’s a special exemption because last spring, Canadian Border Services refused to let the American product enter the country.

“We didn’t really get an explanation from CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) but they did start seizing all the products,” said Elaine Nuessler, Kyla’s grandmother.

But the Nuesslers and other families argued the product is a not drug.

“It is a hemp product. It’s derived from hemp. Hemp goes back and forth across the border quite freely,” said Nuessler.

But according to the Canadian government, CBD is a scheduled-2 drug, just like marijuana, even though CBD doesn’t get you high like the THC does in marijuana.

Chris Nuessler, a former Mountie, is a now a regular user of CBD himself for joint pain.

He feels even though they’ve been granted an exemption it should not have been required.

“Health Canada refers to the CBD product that we’re getting from Colorado as a narcotic. And under the definition of narcotic it really doesn’t fit the mold. That frustrates me. They’re trying to hit home that it’s an illegal narcotic and that’s not right,” said Nuessler.

With the break from the government, the Nuesslers have a healthy supply of CBD for Kyla for the foreseeable future but there is an expiry date on the exemption.

“We have a medical exemption for one year and of course legalization could take longer than that,” said Elaine Nuessler.

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